Picture: By MOME, Lakos Máté, coach Adrienn Király working with students
Every year, alumni of MOME, Budapest's leading art and design academy, venture into the professional field. As a young designer, you are faced with the challenge of shaping your career. In what ways can you create a positive impact, and how can an educational institution ensure that emerging designers are ready for an ever-changing world?
As Fundamentals Academy, we grapple with these questions and develop learning programs to address them. In September the Future Design Studio course kicked off, representing a major leap forward in empowering students to tackle the exciting challenges of tomorrow. The Future Design Studio, an integral part of MOME's Design Master, focuses on three main themes: speculative design, strategic design, and future readiness. But what exactly do students learn in this course?
A crucial aspect of designing for the future is envisioning new worlds to recognize fresh opportunities for positive impact. We believe that young designers can create a hopeful future through their work. Master's students engage with this concept in the Future Design Studio by visually representing these worlds through prototypes, probes, and concepts. Many students find this process outside their comfort zone, because they have more experience in designing tangible objects. Marine Alves, a student in the Future Design Studio, shared her experience: "I primarily learned new methods. During this course, I gained insights into conceptual design. Coming from a more visual background, it was a completely different approach."
At the start of the semester, students choose a theme close to their hearts. They then form international teams to explore and work on projects related to their chosen theme.
Phase 1: Students begin by creating prototypes based on their theme and take these prototypes to the streets to engage in conversations with people. The aim is to quickly connect with stakeholders and conduct human-centered research. The prototype doesn't have to be perfect; it serves as a future probe, a tool for designers to discuss a future that doesn't exist yet.
Picture: By MOME, Lakos Máté, Post-it's for brainstorming in teams.
Phase 2: In the following weeks, students develop the first three to four concepts, followed by a reflection moment.
During this development phase, many students realize that, as designers, they can also facilitate discussions on important societal issues. Adrienn Király, a Hungarian designer and one of the coaches during the Future Design Studio, expressed, "For me, the most interesting part was when students realize that designers can assume diverse roles in society, beyond designing objects."
Phase 3: In the final phase, students choose one concept for a prototype to further develop for the final exhibition. This stage involves in-depth research and discussions with experts. Through the exhibition, students present their ultimate project, making their story tangible and visual.
The Fundamentals team collaborated with the MOME team in coaching the Future Design Studio. Reflecting on this inaugural edition, Jens Gijbels added, "The students develop in various ways. Many had not worked together before and discovered the power of teamwork. Additionally, they acquire skills that can be applied traditionally or for designing systems, governments, or social innovations."
Picture: By MOME, Lakos Máté, Jens Gijbels talking about next steps in the project.
With the Future Design Studio, MOME and Fundamentals aim to prepare young designers to contribute to major societal themes globally. Designers can boost the future readiness of organizations and governments, enhancing their resilience to anticipate significant external changes. The exhibition teaches students to engage people in their future narratives and create hope by demonstrating what is possible.
At the exhibition, you could, for instance, taste the cookies made by Marine's team, which were crafted from insects. Her team pitched the concept of the 'Insectarian Diet,' illustrating how system change can be initiated at various levels to address issues surrounding food production. Marine emphasized the importance of designing for the future, stating, "We live in a time of constant change. so, I think it's definitely important to think about how we design."
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